(Photos & Videos by: Ryan Nix, Geanine Jamison, Carly Perlman, Lou Rabito & Scotty Haines)
By: Marc Narducci
Agnes Irwin senior midfielder Marissa White has made an impressive comeback from a torn ACL that she suffered in January of her junior year.
One could call it an All-American comeback.
Not only has White returned strong this season to be a major contributor to one of the Inter-Ac contenders, but she has added among the highest of honors that a high school senior can earn.
It was recently announced that White was selected to play in the 17th annual Under Armour All-American Lacrosse Game on July 30 at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
The girls’ game will be at 5:30 followed by the boys contest at 8, with both contests airing on ESPNU.
Even more impressive is that the All-Star game announces four different waves of 11 players selected to the game. So far only 22 players have been picked for both the girls’ and boys’ game, and White is one of them.
A testament to the area’s lacrosse talent is that two girls, including White, and one boy have already been named to the Under Armour game. Archbishop Carroll’s Kiley Mottice, a North Carolina commit and Episcopal Academy’s Andrew McMeekin, a Princeton commit, have also been chosen. (More on McMeekin in the upcoming Inter-Ac boys’ lacrosse column).
All that arduous work put into rehabilitating her knee has paid off for White, who will also join Mottice at national power the University of North Carolina.
“I am super excited about this,” White said.
“Yes, just because I came back from my knee injury,” she said. “It wasn’t my expectation as much because I missed my whole junior year and knew it was probably going to be difficult to make.”
Difficult, but as it turns out not impossible.
This will be a nice sendoff to White prior to attending college.
Her injury occurred in an indoor lacrosse game in January of 2021. She was back playing fall club lacrosse in November of that year.
One good thing was that when she suffered the injury, she already had made her commitment to North Carolina, having done so in September of her junior year.
There was no worrying about selecting a college, only about rehabbing her knee.
“It wasn’t fun, but I worked hard all summer,” she said.
Agnes Irwin Senior Marissa White. (PSD photo by Ryan Nix)
Any student-athlete has to show considerable toughness and dedication to return from such an injury.
White has always had plenty of both characteristics.
She credits her two older brothers for helping in the toughness department.
White began playing the sport in kindergarten.
Her father Glenn was a lacrosse player at Villanova and introduced her to the sport.
“I started by having passes with him in the backyard,” she said.
Her development continued in the same backyard with her two older brothers Zach, who played lacrosse at Fairfield and Scott, a current senior lacrosse player at Ohio State.
Those sessions weren’t for the light of heart.
“My brothers would throw me in the cage with a helmet on and shoot on me and that is where I got my competitiveness on the field,” she said.
In other words, her big brothers didn’t take it easy on her.
“No, not at all,” she recalls laughing.
Her mother Tracy didn’t play the sport, but has become an ardent follower, with three children excelling at lacrosse. This is a true lacrosse family that has logged thousands of miles watching and competing.
As for choosing North Carolina, White says she always had an affinity for the school, growing up and attending camps there beginning in middle school.
“They have such great coaches and have a reputation for developing players and I thought academically and athletically North Carolina would push me the most to reach my potential,” she said.
Since 2013 North Carolina has reached the Final Four six times and won the national championship in 2013 and 2016. The Tar Heels have been to the NCAA Tournament 16 consecutive years (not counting 2020 when there was no tournament due to COVID).
One thing that is not surprising is that White isn’t just happy to be named to the team, but she wants to perform to her very best. This will be no simple exhibition for her. It might even resemble those backyard games with her brothers.
“I want to be competitive with the best girls in the class,” she said. “It will be fun to play against the best seniors.”
Germantown Academy won a game last week where the scoring was really spread out. Six players had a hat trick or better and three scored five or more goals in a 25-14 win over Baldwin.
Heidi Cross and Mia Raven had five goals and two assists while Lucia Smigiel added five goals. Emma Goodwin and Sydney Wanner each had three goals and two assists, while Maggie Borek scored three goals and Cate Luviano had the other goal. Sadie Hess made 12 saves.
The Patriots didn’t have much time to celebrate the win, having to visit a quality program, The Hun School, the next day. Germantown Academy earned a highly competitive 10-9 win in what was Senior Day at the Hun School.
“There was an emotional and psychological component to this game,” Germantown Academy coach Jay Foster said. “We had just played an Inter-Ac game 24 hours earlier and were missing six of our rostered players.”
One of the standouts in the win was junior defender Gina Melograno.
“Gina stepped up big-time for the team and played 50 minutes of solid, textbook, feet-first defense and freshman goalie Sadie Hess made another game-winning save that put us in a position to retain offensive possession at the end of the game,” Foster said.
In short this was a total team effort.
“Across the middle of the field, senior captain Heidi Cross and juniors Mia Raven and Sage Battisto each brought their versatile and unique skill sets with their ability to play the power game, clearing the ball in transition, gaining possession of the ground ball on draw control and generating our offense and scoring threat options,” Foster said.
He also cited junior Sarah Marvin and sophomore Maggie Borek.
“Sarah Marvin ably controlled possession of the ball at X with Heidi and Mia to seal the victory,” he said. “Maggie Borek’s growth the past two weeks has been commendable. She’s made a big effort to elevate her shot selection and finishing inside with either hand and it paid off in this game with three goals and two assists.”
In addition, Raven had three goals, Goodwin contributed two goals and one assist, Cross had two goals, Marvin contributed two assists and Smigiel had one assist. Hess made six saves.
“It’s a privilege to work with a team of such competitive student-athletes,” Foster said. “Every player has something to contribute. Collectively we win, but more importantly, we learn as a team.”
For a young team, these wins are important, especially since the competition in the Inter-Ac is so fierce. The Patriots then fell to Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, 13-6 and to Agnes Irwin, 18-6.
Goodwin and Gigi Ippoldo each had two goals against SCH and Wanner led the way with two goals and an assist against Agnes Irwin.
Inter-Ac standings (through Thursday, May 5)
Episcopal Academy 7-1, 12-2
Agnes Irwin 6-2, 8-5
Penn Charter 6-3, 14-3
Springside Chestnut Hill Academy 6-3, 12-3
Germantown Academy 2-7, 6-7
Academy of Notre Dame 1-5, 2-9
Baldwin 0-7, 3-9-1
This year there will be no girls’ playoff in the Inter-Ac League. The regular season will end on May 17 and then many of the teams will compete in the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association (PAISAA) playoffs, which begin on May 20.
The Inter-Ac boys will hold a playoff with the top four teams qualifying.
In a game matching Inter-Ac contenders, Episcopal Academy defeated William Penn Charter, 12-11.
Alex Capozzoli contributed two goals, five assists, two draw controls and two ground balls. A Saint Joseph’s commit, Capozzoli also scored the game-winning goal.
Quinn Whitaker, who tied the game 11-11, had two goals, one assist and two ground balls. Bella Piselli added two goals, four draw controls, four ground balls and one caused turnover, while Grace McHugh contributed two goals, one ground ball and one caused turnover.
The other goals scorers were Lainey McGonagle, Maura Irish, Alexis Ventresca (who also had two assists) and Sydney Richter, who also had four draw controls and three ground balls.
Grace Holland made six saves and added one ground ball and one caused turnover.
In an earlier 18-4 win over Notre Dame, Piselli led the way with five goals, two draw controls and one caused turnover.
Trailing 8-1 at halftime, William Penn Charter made a valiant effort before falling to Episcopal Academy, 12-11 in the aforementioned game of the week.
Charlotte Hodgson had three goals, one assist and five draw controls. Darcy Felter contributed two goals, three assists, five draw controls and one caused turnover.
Bea Buckley had two goals, two assists and two ground balls. Alex Glomb contributed two goals. The other goal scorers were Gracie Shoup and Maddie Shoup.
Kayla Joyce made five saves.
Springside Chestnut Hill Academy led Germantown Academy 5-3 but turned it into overdrive in the second half during a 13-6 win.
Emma Bradbury and Alex Reilly had great all-around games. Bradbury had four goals, one assist, five draw controls, one caused turnover and three ground balls. Reilly added four goals, four draw controls, two caused turnovers and two ground balls.
Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. (photo by Lou Rabito for PSD)
Maddy Caliendo had seven ground balls, along with one goal. Ella Knox had two goals and two draw controls and Cece Reilly contributed four assists.
Stanford commit Lucy Pearson made 10 saves.
Agnes Irwin enjoyed two convincing wins this past week, beating Notre Dame, 15-8 and Germantown Academy, 18-6.
Marissa White had six goals, eight ground balls, five draw control and one caused turnover to lead the win over Notre Dame. Scoring two goals each were Ella Springer, Carolina Chisolm, who also had three caused turnovers, and Catie Holmes.
Eleven different players scored at least one goal in the win over Germantown Academy, led by White who had five goals and one draw control.
Alex Lesko, Sydney Wilson and Quinn Wollard each had two goals.
Junior midfielder Katie Onderdonk continues to shine for Notre Dame. In a 15-8 loss to Agnes Irwin, Onderdonk had three goals and eight draw controls. Onderdonk is a Massachusetts commit.
Maeve Seeger added two goals, two draw controls and two ground balls, while Kylee O’Donnell had two goals and two assists. The other goal scorers were Cate Fox (who also had one assist) and Anya Dunn. Erin Sweeney made eight saves.
Academy of Notre Dame's Katie Onderdonk. (PSD photo by Scotty Haines)
Baldwin lost a 25-14 decision to Germantown Academy, but senior Clara Page had a big game in defeat. A Cal Berkeley commit, Page had five goals, three assists, six ground balls and one caused turnover.
Katie Reed contributed three goals, two assists and five ground balls. Lauren Halak had three goals, one assist and six ground balls.
Thea Rosenzweig had two goals and one assist and Eliza Bryant added one goal and one assist.
Aspara Reese made 13 saves.
Baldwin School's Clara Page in game vs. Germantown Academy. (PSD photo by Geanine Jamison)